Frank Salvatore
Health and Lifestyle

The Effect of Enzymes on Overall Health

March 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Digestive enzymes are a critical part of the digestion process and help our bodies absorb the nutrition that it needs. While this is well known, many don’t realize the important role that enzymes play in our overall health and other biological functions aside from digestion.

The body contains thousands of enzymes that assist the body in normal functions that it otherwise would not be able to do. Every organ has a unique set of enzymes that all have their own function and create their own biochemical reactions.

The Benefits of Enzymes

Researchers are continuing to discover enzymes that play all kinds of roles in our bodies, from optimizing digestion to treating cancer. This has led researchers to believe that enzyme preservation is a critical part of longevity, as one’s level of enzymes decreases with age.

For example, people who are in their 20s have around 30 times more amylase in their saliva than those who are approaching their 70s, and they also have twice as much lipase than those in their late 70s. People suffering from a chronic illness also typically have lower levels of enzymes than healthy people.

A study on an enzyme that is involved in energy metabolism was done on mice and it had interesting findings. This enzyme that is found in broccoli, cabbage, and cucumbers helped to regenerate aging cells, which in turn prevented certain age-related genetic changes. The mice who were fed these enzyme-rich foods gained less weight than the control group and had improved eyesight.

Digestive enzymes

These are involved in the process of digestion. They work by breaking down food into nutrients that your body can use and eliminating any waste products. These enzymes are found outside of the cells. There are eight types of digestive enzymes, each of which breaks down different types of food.

  • Protease: Digests protein
  • Amylase: Digests carbohydrates
  • Lipase: Digestis fats
  • Cellulase: Breaks down fiber
  • Maltase: Converts complex sugars into glucose
  • Lactase: Digests milk sugar in dairy products
  • Phytase: Aids in overall digestion, especially in producing B vitamins
  • Sucrase: Digests most sugars

People Who May Benefit From More Enzymes

Because enzymes play such a large role in overall health, some people may benefit from consuming more enzymes in their diet. By eating more raw foods or taking a supplement, many can improve their health.

For example, those who mainly eat cooked, processed, or microwaved foods. When you eat these foods that have been through these unnatural processes, you are putting a burden on your body to produce the enzymes that it needs. Instead, if you eat raw foods, your body can easily make what it needs for digestion and other processes.

Any enzymes that are not used during the digestion process are available to help with other physiological processes that are vital to the body’s health.

People who are over the age of 30 can also benefit from additional enzyme consumption. The body’s production of enzymes decreases by over a tenth every decade, so once you are 40, your enzyme production is likely to be 25% lower than it was as a child. Once you reach 70, you are likely producing only a third of the enzymes that your body needs. What makes things worse is that your stomach creates less hydrochloric acid with age, and this acid is needed to activate the digestive enzymes in your stomach.

People who are acutely or chronically ill can benefit their bodies with the consumption of more enzymes, including people who have digestive problems, high blood sugar, endocrine gland imbalances, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, large amounts of stress, arthritis and chronic inflammatory conditions.

Supplements that have the enzymes that break down starches, proteins, and fats appear to benefit people who have food sensitivities. In order to have the best digestion, you need all three of these enzymes.

Enzymes and Coenzymes

Enzymes cause biochemical reactions to occur. They speed up reactions, sometimes to the speed of several million reactions each second. This significantly lowers the amount of energy that is needed from the body to digest food. Without enzymes, some reactions would not even be possible. Here are some things your body does that requires enzymes:

  • produce energy
  • absorb oxygen
  • fight infections
  • heal wounds
  • reduce inflammation
  • distribute nutrients to the cells
  • eliminate toxic waste
  • dissolve blood clots
  • break down food
  • regulate hormones
  • regulate nerve impulses
  • slow the aging process

Enzymes combine with vitamins and minerals to create coenzymes to conduct these processes. While the body can create its own enzymes, the ability to do so begins to decline around the age of 30. If your diet consists of mainly processed foods, this process will happen faster, as usable enzymes are only found in fresh, whole foods. This is another reason why people are urged to eat plenty of fresh produce, as it has a large impact on enzyme health.

Pancreatic Enzymes in the Fight Against Cancer

Pancreatic enzymes are useful in treating cancer. When they are used for this, pancreatic enzyme supplements are taken in between meals, when the body does not need them for digestion. The enzymes then work systemically, helping the body’s organs through your blood.

One way enzymes fight cancer is by dissolving cancer cells’ protective fibrin coating. Because this coating is fibrous, it is 15 times thicker than the protective layer of a normal cell. By dissolving this layer, the enzymes help the immune system find the antigens in the cancer cell so the cell can be killed and naturally disposed of.
Enzymes and Leukemia Treatment

The enzyme L-asparaginase has a history of being used to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which is the most common form of leukemia in children. This enzyme is also often used to treat certain cancers in cats and dogs. This enzyme starves cancer cells of asparaginase, which is the enzyme needed to produce proteins. While healthy cells only need a little asparaginase, cancer cells need a lot and cannot produce it on its own.

Seaprose-S

Seaprose is a systemic enzyme with many health benefits. It is known to be an effective anti-inflammatory that can also help break up mucus. Studies also suggest that it has antibiotic properties. This enzyme has been shown to benefit:

  • Arthritis
  • Edema
  • Venous inflammatory disease
  • Peritonitis
  • Vein inflammation following a blood clot
  • Pulmonary tuberculosis
  • Bronchitis
  • Pulmonary emphysema
  • COPD
  • Bronchiolitis

Seaprose-S should be taken in-between meals so it can work systemically. By passing through the digestive tract, this enzyme can enter the bloodstream, reaching all the tissues in the body.

Naturally Boosting Enzyme Levels

There are four things you can do to increase your enzyme levels:

  • eat more raw, living foods
  • thoroughly chew your food
  • fast
  • stop chewing gum

The best way to increase your enzymes is to make at least 75% of your diet consist of raw foods. All raw foods contain enzymes, however, the most useful enzyme-rich foods are raw foods that are sprouted such as seeds and legumes. Other foods that are rich in enzymes include:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Avocado
  • Kiwi
  • Grapes
  • Raw meat
  • Dairy
  • Fish sauce
  • Mango

Eating these foods will give your body the amino acids and enzymes that your body needs to boost its natural production of enzymes. You can lower your body’s demand for enzymes by reducing your caloric intake. This will reduce your need for digestive enzymes, allowing your body to use its energy to create metabolic enzymes.

When it comes to chewing, this action stimulates the production of saliva which lessens the workload of your digestive system to create enzymes. This is also why you should avoid chewing gum because it tricks the body into thinking it is about to digest something, so it unnecessarily creates digestive enzymes.

Digestive Enzyme Supplementation

If you believe your enzyme production is low, you may consider taking a digestive enzyme supplement alongside the addition of eating more raw foods. Digestive enzymes should be taken with a meal, and should ideally contain a mixture of various enzymes to aid in the digestion of all of your food.

Systemic Enzyme Supplementation

Enzymes can be used systemically between meals on an empty stomach so they are absorbed directly into your bloodstream. Your cells can then use the enzymes metabolically for health benefits. Systemic enzyme supplements are often given an enteric coating so they don’t break down in the stomach, but rather wait until they are in the digestive tract.

Systemic enzymes are used to treat various problems such as sports injuries, arthritis, heart disease, and cancer. While this is often done in other countries, the U.S. is only now beginning to adopt this practice.

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Frank Salvatore